The temperatures have officially soared and everywhere I turn I hear people talking about their summer diets. Many of us build up some weight in the winter and before popping on a bathing suit want to shed a few pounds.
There are tons and tons...and tons of diets out there. Every year there is a new diet craze that promises to have you drop weight quickly and get that bikini body you've always dreamed of. While some of these diets may help you lose weight initially, more often than not, the second you stop the diet you gain back all the weight you lost and even throw on an extra few pounds, just to rub it in!
Fad diets don't address the real issue. Is your weight gain from overeating, eating poorly, food sensitivities, stress, a bad relationship? Until you get to the root cause how can you ever really expect to lose it and maintain a healthy body weight? As unique individuals we have to stop buying into the myth that the same method that worked for our friend or neighbor must work for us. That's just not how our bodies work.
There are several reasons why diets don't work:
Diets have too many rules. The word "diet" has such a negative connotation to begin with, that we forget that it actual just means "food and drinks an individual regularly consumes." Nowhere in the definition does it state deprivation, discipline and shame.
I have watched so many of my loved ones go on diets over the years. They do great for a week or two, but the second a craving really takes over (usually do to them feeling completely deprived for the past few weeks) they automatically feel like they've failed and shouldn't even bother starting over. They start to feel badly about themselves and eat even worse than before they started the diet.
Diet foods are toxic. They just are. Of course it's convenient to fill your freezer full of prepared meals that you can just throw in the microwave when you are hungry, but these foods contain very little nutritional value and are loaded with additives, preservatives, artificial sweeteners, hydrogenated oils & GMO's. Our bodies do not like these substances and eventually start to suffer from working too hard trying to process something that isn't actual food (or anything recognizable at all!).
Diets don't nurture the individual. What does your body actually need? Not your sister's, not your friend's; yours. Do you thrive from eating more protein and fewer grains? Do you feel best when you eat mostly raw? Do you live an active or sedentary lifestyle? Do you have other health concerns? Do you turn to food for comfort because of a stressful relationship? All of the things need to be addressed in order to bring your body into balance and nourish it the way it really needs.
Most diets do not focus on educating people on making healthier choices.
I know, I know - we live in a fast paced world and everything has to be handed right to us causing us as little inconvenience as possible. But as far as health is concerned, this is NEVER a good thing. With out learning what your body needs to keep it properly nourished and fueled, you will continually fall into the same pattern that ultimately leads to you always feeling like you have "failed." There is no "failed." You learn the lesson or you don't. I truly believe that as human beings, we were given the gift of being able to grow from each and every experience and lesson life throws our way. With that in mind, we should learn to listen to our bodies and what it is trying to tell/teach us so that we can stop these negative patterns and creative healthier, positive ones.
So for your physical health, longevity, and mental state, I encourage you to start from the beginning. Sit down and think about what you really want your body and your life to look like. How do you want to feel? Start eating REAL foods that nourish and balance your body. Exercise and take care of yourself. Seek support if you need, but most of all, let go of the quick fix mentality and you WILL get there...and stay there.